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Hellenists Originated Death Tradition

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  • Theodore Weeden
    ... atonement Christology in the tradition of the Judaic tradition of a righteous one suffering martyrdom for the expiation of others sins (see, as Betz
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 1, 2005
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      Rikk Watts wrote on August 08, 2005:

      > Out of interest, if one proposes that conditions which favored an
      atonement Christology "in the tradition of the Judaic tradition of a
      righteous one suffering martyrdom for the expiation of others' sins
      (see, as Betz notes [42, n.54], 4 Macc. 6:27-29 and 17:21-22)"
      prevailed in the early Jerusalem church (presumably quite early if as
      you seem to imply it predated Paul), then on what grounds would
      one exclude this idea going back only a few years earlier to Jesus
      himself? What necessary/sufficient theological resources did they have
      that Jesus himself didn't? <

      [TJW]

      My apology again for the delay in my reply to the issues you raise in this
      post, due to personal and family issues requiring my attention, as well as
      to time required to do extensive reading to compose this reply to you, as
      you will see below.

      I have been doing some rethinking about the origin of the earliest Christian
      interpretation of Jesus' death as an expiation for others' sins. I am
      convinced that that interpretation antedates Paul and did not originate with
      Paul, contra Ron Price (at least as far as the Last Supper is concerned) in
      his post of August 6, 2005 (Re: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death Tradition
      Misrepresents Jesus). Ron, however, makes a good point in arguing that
      the Jerusalem church would not likely have invented a meal in which Jesus
      invited his disciples to drink his "blood," even symbolically, because of
      the Torah proscription of such an act in Lev. 17:10-14. Your post here and
      Ron's challenge to my Jerusalem origin of Jesus' death as a sacrificial
      atonement (both in the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the Pauline tradition of the
      Last Supper have cause me to go read again Marin Hengel's _Atonement_, which
      I have not dipped into in over 20 years. What I found there was fascinating
      and has caused me to wonder if the origin of the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the
      tradition of the Last Supper should not be traced to the Hellenistic Jewish
      Christian community in Antioch. Thus, I have developed a lengthy essay
      which I have included at the end of this post to propose that thesis to you
      and other listers.

      [TJW]

      > I do not know of any
      > Christian community in Galilee which would have promulgated such a
      > christology which is prototypically Judean cult in its sacrifical
      > ideology.

      [Rikk]

      I'm intrigued by this. Doubtless there were early Christian communities in
      Galilee. What I'm less sure of is how we can know much about them. What
      makes you think a Galilean community could not have come to this idea or
      would have been resistant to it? (Once again), what theological resources
      did they lack that the early Jerusalem church did not? Are you implying some
      kind of Galilean hostility toward 4 Macc martyrology or Isaiah 53? I mention
      these texts because it seems that they and not particularly Levitical cult
      materials are the ones you see as formative for atonement Christology. In
      other words, I'm unclear as to why "Judean cult ideology" is relevant given
      what seems to me to be the absence of any distinctively "Judean cultic"
      language.

      [TJW]

      In my essay "Christian Orthodoxy's Death Tradition: a Misrepresentation of
      the Historical Jesus," which can be found in XTalk files as "Death
      Tradition," and with which I introduced this XTalk thread (7/18/05), I
      indicate that the Galilean community I have reference to is the Q community.
      I see that community promulgating the Life Tradition in contrast to the
      Death Tradition, which I now see originates with the Antiochene Christian
      community and not the Jerusalem church as I stated in the original essay.
      I am not sure how the issue you raise here relates to the position I take in
      the essay. Could you clarify that for me?

      Again, below is the lengthy essay in which I propose that the Death
      Tradition, including the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the Last Supper tradition
      associated with the Death Tradition, originated with Antiochene Christians
      and not the church at Jerusalem. I look forward to any response you and
      others may have. I will be away from today through Monday, so I will not be
      able to reply to any responses until next week.

      Regards,

      Ted

      The Hellenists and the Origin of the Death Tradition

      I. Introduction

      In this essay I propose that Hellenistic-Jewish Christians, likely the
      so-called Hellenists of Acts 6, who were natives of Antioch, originated and
      promulgated the "Death Tradition" of Christian orthodoxy. The church at
      Jerusalem not only did not formulate the creed of 1 Cor. 15:3-5 and
      propagate the tradition of the Last Supper, but it, under its leader James
      the brother of Jesus, was also opposed to the theology, christology and
      soteriology of both the creed and the eucharistic orientation of the Last
      Supper tradition.

      II. The Greek Martyred-Hero Paradigm vis-à-vis Palestinian Judaism's
      Theological Orientation

      In his book _The Atonement_ (8), Martin Hengel points out that in the Old
      Testament "there is no real report of a prophetic martyrdom, far less any
      hints of a 'theology of martyrdom.'" Only with the Hellenistic period is
      there an emergence in Palestinian Judaism of an emphasis on commemorating
      prophets who are martyred. "A representative death to atone for the guilt
      of others," Hengel submits, "can therefore be found at best on the periphery
      of the Old Testament - for example in Isa. 53, which K. Koch rightly
      describes as an 'erratic block.'" Only after the Maccabean rebellion do we
      have examples of a heroes dying on behalf of the people or the Torah. In
      the Old Testament, with the exception of Isa. 53, the thought that one could
      atone for the sins of others is rejected by God. According to the Torah
      (Ex. 32:30-33), when Moses, as Hengel notes, proposed to God that he be
      permitted to atone for the sins of the people, God turns down Moses' offer
      and insists that those who have sinned must be punished for their sins (8;
      and cf. n. 18).

      However, Hengel (9) observes by contrast that already in the Greek classical
      period there was a tradition of revered martyrs voluntarily sacrificing
      themselves in the interest of family, friends, their native city, and even
      for philosophical truth. And in the case of such voluntary martyrdom for
      others it was understood - again as early as the classical period - that the
      martyrdom was rooted in religious ideology, and, consequently, martyrs were
      worshipped as divine men. Moreover, as Hengel underscores, the formulae
      "APOQNHSKEIN hUPER ["to die for"] and more rarely also (EPI)DIDONAI hEAUTON
      hUPER ["to give one's self for"], or similar formulae with PERI or hUPER, so
      familiar from the New Testament christological formulae, were a stereotyped
      expression for the voluntary sacrifice of a man's life in the interests" of
      others or one's native city.

      Moreover, Hengel declares (19), in the Greek mindset, when someone
      sacrificed himself for the community good, it "was also often understood as
      an expiatory sacrifice to assuage the anger of the gods," and such an
      expiatory human sacrifice was viewed as atonement of extraordinary nature.
      Moreover, "[o]ne fixed ingredient of almost all traditions is that the
      voluntary sacrifice did not rest on a man's own decision, but followed the
      divine demand of an atoning sacrifice to deliver the people, the land or a
      family, which was given by a seer or an oracle often that of Delphi" (23).
      Greek tragedy is replete with the theme of revered personages of mythic
      antiquity performing such expiatory atonement, a fact known well among all
      sectors of the population (19). By contrast, "in ancient Israel there are
      hardly any examples of dying for Israel, the Law or the sanctuary, which are
      stressed as heroic actions" (6). In the Old Testament "there is no real
      report of a prophetic martyrdom, far less any hints of a 'theology of
      martyrdom'" (8). And with respect to the salvific efficacy of an atoning
      death, with the exception of Isa. 53, "the Old Testament tends to reject
      vicarious atonement of death of a man for the sins of others" (57).

      A significant aspect integral to the Greek paradigm of the hero who submits
      voluntarily to death for others is his apotheosis, his transportation upon
      his death to heaven or some idyllic place where he is honored by the gods
      (4). This is significant, Hengel underscores, because there is no such Old
      Testament tradition. Enoch and Elijah are the only two Old Testament
      figures who are translated to heaven, but they are translated to heaven as
      living human beings, not as dead persons. There is no Judaic tradition of
      someone who has died being transported to heaven, "much less of a numinous
      transfiguration of death or even of a divine glorification of the dead."
      Also in Judaism there is no evidence of an interest in idealizing heroes via
      a cult of the dead. "[B]elief in Yahweh did not allow any kind of worship of
      the dead or any cultic or magical dealings with them." Only with the
      Hellenistic period, to reiterate, does there emerge a Jewish theology of
      martyrdom and an emphasis upon commemorating prophets and others (e.g.,
      Eleazar, the seven brothers of IV Maccabees) who are martyred for their
      faithfulness to Yahweh, Torah, etc (6).

      Yet, as Hengel observes (40f.), even in Hellenistic Judaism, to say nothing
      of Palestinian Judaism, the tradition of a theology of martyrdom, never
      included messianic martyrdom, the suffering and dying of the Messiah. It
      is only with the rabbinic Haggadah of the second century CE, and its
      depiction of a suffering Messiah originating in the tribe of Ephraim, that
      one finds presentation of a suffering Messiah. For a Jewish audience of
      the first century, a concept of a dying Messiah would "have been an
      unprecedented novelty, indeed a scandal which - at least in the light of our
      present knowledge of extant sources - contradicted the prevailing popular
      messianic expectation." And there certainly was no Judaic belief in the
      appointing of the Messiah via his resurrection from the dead.

      Thus, I can only conclude that the entire ideological foundation of the
      Christian proclamation of Jesus as the Christ suffering and dying as a
      voluntary martyr to atone for the sins others and, subsequently, being
      raised and glorified by God (see, e.g. example Paul and the Markan passion
      predictions and Mark 13:24-26) is based upon the Greek ideological paradigm
      and had virtually no roots, aside from possibly Isa. 53, in Old Testament
      theology. In fact, as Hengel notes, the "formula of 'dying for'
      (APOQNHSKEIN hUPER [as represented in 1 Cor. 15:3: CRISTOS APEQANEN hUPER
      TWN hAMARTIWN hHMWN]) is striking because it has no parallel in the Old
      Testament and the Semitic sphere, though it is frequent in Greek texts, not
      the least those of Hellenistic Jewish provenance from the time of the
      Maccabees." The one Christian formula associated with Jesus' atoning
      mission, is the "surrender formula" (as Hengel dubs it), which is found in
      "its earliest formulation . . . in Mark 10:45 [the ransom concept of
      atonement]" (35, 49).

      III. The Hellenists: Originators of the Soteriology of the Death Tradition

      Then who among the earliest believers in Jesus as the Messiah produced the
      formula of 1 Cor. 15:3, as well as the entire tradition of Jesus as the
      Christ who suffered and died for the sins of others and was, subsequently,
      raised from the dead by God and exalted in glory? Hengel traces this
      early Christian kerygma back to the Jerusalem church, but not to James and
      the disciples. Rather, Hengel contends that the kerygma originates with the
      Hellenists whom Luke portrays as part of the Jerusalem church prior to their
      persecution. It is these Hellenists who, according to Hengel, "for the
      first time recast the primitive Christian message (and the tradition of
      Jesus) in the Greek language." In doing so, Hengel submits (50), these
      Hellenists contributed to Christian rhetoric the novel and explicitly
      Christian connotation of such terms as "EUAGGELION, EUAGGELIZESQAI;
      APOSTOLOS, EKKLHSIA, KOINWNIA, PAROUSIA, CARIS, PISTIS, APOKALUYIS,
      APOLUTRWIS, PRO (APO) KATABOLHNS KOSMOU, . . . and even the phrase hO hUIOS
      TOU ANQRWPOU (instead of the hUIOS ANQRWPOU of the LXX), so mysterious
      because it has the definite article." Hengel also proposes: "What is more
      likely than to suppose that the formula CRISTOS APEQANEN hUPER (TWN
      hAMARTIWN) hHMWN, which is pre-Pauline in the full sense of the word, was
      formed in connection with this creative translation of the new kerygma into
      Greek? "Possibly," Hengel surmises, "it was meant to counter statements in
      the LXX which reject a 'dying for others' (cf. Deut. 24:16; Jer. 38 (31),
      30; Ezek. 3:18f.; 18:4ff.): the death of the Messiah creates the possibility
      of representativeness."

      "A further argument for a Hellenistic-Jewish-Christianity derivation of the
      conception of the representative atoning death of Jesus," Hengel suggests
      (60), "is seen in the fact that we seem to find pre-Christian references to
      the vicarious atoning effect of death of a martyr only in Jewish Hellenistic
      texts [emphasis: Hengel]. These are only hinted at in II Macc. 7.32f.,
      37f.; the idea of representation is expressed more clearly in IV Maccabees,
      with its stronger Greek tone, decked out in the style of a Hellenistic
      panegyric, which probably comes from the Jewish community of Antioch of the
      first (or second century) [CE]. That is the case in the prayer of Eleazar
      in 6.28f. and the closing considerations in 17,21f." (60).

      Yet despite, his conclusion that the early Christian kerygma regarding the
      vicarious atoning death of Jesus, as it comes to us in the New Testament,
      originates with Hellenistic-Jewish-Christianity, Hengel staunchly avers (64)
      that "we must agree with Jeremias and Lohse that the vicarious atoning
      effect of the death or even the suffering of a righteous man was not unknown
      in the Palestinian Judaism of the first century [CE], independently of the
      question of terminology. Objections against deriving the soteriological
      interpretation of the death of Jesus from the earliest Aramaic-speaking
      community are therefore at any rate unconvincing. There is nothing from a
      historical or tradition-historical point of view which stands in the way of
      our deriving it from the earliest community and perhaps even from Jesus
      himself." In fact, Hengel contends (65, 72f.) - with the proviso (72): "Of
      course we can only put all this forward as a hypothesis, justified though it
      may be" - that Jesus knew himself to be the Messiah, made messianic claims
      to his disciples, ritualized the meaning of his atoning death via Isa. 53 in
      his last supper to show, a la Mk. 14:25, that he wanted to prepare the way
      for the coming of the kingdom of God through his sacrificial death in the
      face of the apparent supremacy of evil and sin in God's own people and all
      mankind." Thus, Hengel surmises (73) that Jesus at his last supper with his
      disciples coupled the saying about ransom (Mk. 10:45) with the saying about
      the cup. The ransom saying would have been used at that meal in order "to
      elucidate his mysterious symbolic action. For, "[t]he saying over the cup
      and the saying about ransom are connected by the universal service 'for
      many',
      in the sense of 'for all', which is presumably to be derived from Isaiah
      53."

      IV. Issues of Disagreement with Haenchen: Jesus Self-View, Hellenists'
      Conflict with the Hebrews

      While I agree with Haenchen that the creation of the creed of 1 Cor. 15:3
      and the tradition of the Last Supper originates with Hellenistic-Jewish
      Christians, and that those Christians are likely to have been the so-called
      Hellenists to which Luke refers in Acts 6, I part with Hengel on two counts:
      namely, (1) his tracing the theological root of the Hellenistic-Jewish
      Christian kerygma back to Jesus himself, whom Hengel argues (64, 71, 73)
      interpreted his death soteriologically as an atoning death for others, and
      (2) his conviction that the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the Last Supper tradition
      have their roots in the Jerusalem church via the Hellenists, cited by Luke
      in Acts 6, and that the entire church, including Jesus' original disciples
      and his brother James, were of one mind with these Hellenistic-Jewish
      Christians with regard to their soteriological interpretation of Jesus'
      death (38, 44, 47, 49-54, 65).

      A. Contra Hengel: Jesus Views His Death (?) and the Markan Passion Narrative

      With respect to the first count, I hold that Jesus never held such a supper,
      much less ritualized the meaning of his death via symbols of cup and bread.
      In my reconstruction of Jesus' last days, I conclude that as soon as Jesus
      engaged in the provocative act against the Temple, he was immediately
      arrested by the Temple guard, delivered to Caiaphas, who turned him over to
      Pilate to be executed as a thief. Thieves in that day were customarily
      crucified (see my XTalk post to Jeffrey Gibson on August 3, 2005 [Re:
      [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death Tradition Misrepresents Jesus]). Jesus, I
      contend, was not crucified for making messianic claims for himself (Rikk,
      see my forthcoming post in reply to your response of August 9 to my essay).
      Hengel to the contrary (65), Jesus never made such a claim. I do agree
      with Hengel that Jesus may well have considered the possibility of dying a
      violent death, particularly from my perspective, when he engaged in his
      provocative act against the Temple. Jesus, as Hengel posits (71f.), "was
      one of those gifted men who are in a position to see through situations and
      people." But if Jesus entertained the possibility that he might die for
      his opposition of the Temple cult, my sense is that he would have thought
      that his death might come by stoning, such as was the case of prophets
      before him who attacked the cultic establishment. Unlike Hengel (71), I do
      not think that Jesus prayed the Gethsemane prayer, nor do I think, contra
      Hengel (67, 69), that either the Gethsemane episode or any other of the
      passion events narrated my Mark from the last supper to the trial before
      Pilate are rooted in any historical actuality - with the exception of Jesus'
      arrest (see my "Two Jesuses" thesis, the Markan portion of which can be
      found as an XTalk file, namely: "Two Jesuses. Markan Jesus Mimesis of
      Jesus-Ananias.I.pdf." and "Two Jesuses. Markan Jesus Mimesis of
      Jesus-Ananias.II.pdf."). Jesus' arrest occurred, in my reconstruction,
      immediately following the Temple incident and not in the Garden of
      Gethsemane.

      B. Contra Hengel: the Hellenists-Hebrews Schism

      With regard to the second count which leads me to part from Haenchn, let me
      state at the outset that I think that the entire ideological foundation of
      the Christian proclamation of Jesus as the Christ suffering and dying as a
      voluntary martyr to atone for the sins others and, subsequently, raised and
      glorified by God is based upon the Greek ideological martyrdom-paradigm.
      Furthermore, with Hengel, I attribute that Christian kerygmatic
      promulgation, the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the Last Supper tradition, in
      particular, to Hellenistic-Jewish Christians, specifically the Hellenists
      identified by Luke in Jerusalem. But where I part with Hengel is that I do
      not think the Hellenists of Jerusalem were members of the Jerusalem church,
      nor that Christians in Jerusalem were of one mind in there interpretation of
      Jesus' death. In fact, I hold that the leaders of the Jerusalem church,
      James, in particular, strongly disagreed with the Hellenists' soteriological
      interpretation of Jesus' death. On what evidentiary basis do I hold such a
      position in contrast to Hengel?

      As stated, Hengel holds that the theological interpretation of Jesus death
      as a saving, atoning sacrifice formulated and promulgated by the Hellenists
      was a consensus theological interpretation shared by the entire Jerusalem
      Christian community. In support of this theological unanimity among all
      Christians in the Jerusalem church, Hengel declares (54), "one can hardly
      imagine how the unity of the earliest church - so dear to Paul's heart -
      could have been preserved had the community in Jerusalem not shared this
      belief in the soteriological efficacy of the death of Jesus." From my
      perspective, the myth that the earliest church was unified theologically,
      particularly with respect to the interpretation of Jesus' death, is nothing
      more than a myth, for the most part the creation of Luke in his revisionist
      idealization of church history, and specifically with respect to the present
      issue, Luke's description of a unified Jerusalem church of "Hebrews" and
      "Hellenists."

      For, when one strips away the Lukan idealistic veneer of early Christian
      unity in Jerusalem, one finds beneath the scars of internecine theological
      conflict between the Lukan "Hellenists" (Hellenistic Greek-speaking Jewish
      Christians of the diaspora residing in Jerusalem) and the "Hebrews"
      (Palestinian born, Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians ) in Jerusalem (see
      Ernst Haenchen, _The Acts of the Apostles_, 267). Long ago, F. C. Baur and
      Julius Wellhausen (see Haenchen, 264 ) had detected such a schism, but for
      the most part it has not been fully recognized, in my judgment, for what it
      was by scholars. Hengel to the contrary, the "Hellenists" and "Hebrews"
      were not a part of one body of Christian believers in Jerusalem, despite
      Luke's attempt to picture them as such. The actual historical reality of
      the division Luke must finally allow to surface at Acts 8:1, namely, "at the
      moment of persecution [of the Hellenists, which reveals that] the primitive
      community embodied two groups which were already so clearly distinct that
      the one was persecuted, the other left unharmed" (Haenchen, 266).
      Furthermore, Hans Conzelmann (_Acts of the Apostles_, 44) suggests that the
      division between the Hellenists and the Hebrews "must have been recognizable
      even to outsiders; otherwise the persecution [of Jerusalem Christians] could
      not have been limited to the Hellenists."

      This conflict between the Hellenists and the Hebrews is not a Lukan
      creation. Rather, it is conflict which Luke found depicted in one of his
      sources (Haenchen, 83f.), and transvalued it into a rather pragmatic,
      mundane, though no less important, issue concerning the neglect of the
      Hellenists' widows in order to avoid revealing what his source clearly
      revealed, a serious schism in the Christian community in Jerusalem. As
      Conzelmann puts it (44): "The actual events which lie behind this account of
      the selection of the seven [Hellenists] can be perceived only vaguely,
      because Luke has radically reworked the material in order to avoid the
      impression of an internal crisis during the time of the apostles. The
      neglect of precisely this group, namely the Hellenists widows, is
      incomprehensible on the basis of what Luke reports. The conflict gives the
      impression of being artificially constructed."

      However, the cause for the persecution of the Hellenists at the time, I
      submit, can give us clues regarding their theological orientation and likely
      a window into seeing what was the substantive issue that led to the schism
      between themselves and the Hebrews. "This persecution," Haenchen declares
      (267f.), "can have had but one possible cause: that the teaching which this
      group attempted to disseminate by its mission contained some element which
      to many Jews went beyond the bounds tolerable." Apparently, Haenchen
      surmises, the Hellenists "provoked the wrath of the Jews in Jerusalem
      [because of their exercising] great freedom in relation to the law," so much
      so that they "must have estranged and repelled not only the Jews but also
      the 'Hebrews': at all events their immunity from the persecution shows that
      they did not adopt it." I would put it more strongly. The Christian
      "Hebrews" like the offended Jews found the views of the Christian Hellenists
      so objectionable that they rejected them outright and disassociated
      themselves from them.

      I propose, further, that it was not just the law itself but their kerygma,
      if it was as fully developed at that point, which challenged the Torah by
      interpreting Jesus' death as directed by God to atone for the sins of others
      and thereby provide salvation to all who believed in Jesus as the Christ.
      Haenchen, for his part, does not think the issue which divided the Hebrews
      from the Hellenists was over Jesus' messiahship (267): "Now the
      stumbling-block could not have been the preaching of Jesus as Messiah, for
      James the brother of Jesus was able to maintain this doctrine in Jerusalem
      right up to the year 60." I would argue that the stumbling block was
      precisely over the claim of the Hellenists that Jesus was a crucified
      Messiah, a claim which, as Hengel submits, would be a scandalous offense to
      Jews (40; and see Paul [I Cor. 1:23]) and, as Paul suggests, difficult for
      some Christians to come to terms with (1 Cor. 1:17-2:5).

      Now, if one considers the proposed source from which Luke drew the
      information about the Hellenists, a more complete picture can be drawn of
      their theological orientation. A number of scholars (e.g., Rudolf
      Bultmann, "Zur Frage nach Quellen der Apostelgeschichte," in _Exegetica_,
      422; Haenchen [with reservations], 84, and Conzelmann, xxxviif.) have argued
      that Luke drew upon an Antiochene source, perhaps a chronicle, for his
      information about the role of the "Hellenists" in early Christianity. With
      this probable fact in mind, I would go on to argue that the Hellenists were
      not onlyoriginally from Antioch but it also was in Antioch in the
      Hellenistic-Jewish-Christian community there that they imagined and
      formulated their particular soteriological interpretation of Jesus' death.
      The paradigm they drew upon by which to model their interpretation of Jesus
      death, I propose, was the Greek martyred-hero paradigm, a paradigm, as I
      noted above, in which the hero is directed by the gods to sacrifice himself
      voluntarily in death for others, as an expiatory, atoning sacrifice, with
      the subsequent given that in death he will be transported to heaven where he
      will be honored by the gods. It is, I suggest further, precisely this
      paradigmatic typology upon which the passion predictions in Mark are
      constructed, particularly 8:31, namely, Jesus, the hero of the Gospel, is
      divinely directed (DEI) to suffer as God's son for a just and God-given
      cause against the ungodly, oppressive cultic establishment authorities, be
      put to death by them, and then be raised from the dead by God. The rest of
      the Greek paradigmatic typology is fleshed out by Mark in the Markan Last
      Supper (14:22-24), where it is clearly stated by Jesus himself that his
      death is an salvific, atoning death, and in Mk. 13:24-26, where Jesus is
      exalted and glorified in heaven, much like the Greek martyred heroes were
      glorified.

      Thus, I would propose that the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the tradition of the
      Last Supper was the creation of the Hellenistic-Jewish-Christian community
      in Antioch, the same city in which Hellenistic Jews, adopting the Greek
      paradigm, developed their own theology of martyrdom, and depicted it in
      strong "Greek tone" and "decked out in the style of a Hellenistic panegyric"
      in their book IV Maccabees (Hengel, 60). And, course, Antioch is
      considered by a number of scholars as the place where around "the middle of
      the thirties, the messianic title *Christos* gradually became a proper name"
      (Hengel, 39). Thus, I posit that the Greacized creedal formula of 1 Cor.
      15:3, CRISTOS APEQANEN hUPER TWN hAMARTIWN hHMWN, originated in Antioch in
      the community of Hellenistic-Jewish Christians. Moreover, I posit, further,
      that Paul received that creedal tradition, which he cites in 1 Cor. 15:3-5,
      along with the appended occurrences of resurrection epiphanies (1 Cor.
      15:6-7), as well as the Last Supper tradition, which Paul cites in 1 Cor.
      11:23-25, from those Hellenistic-Jewish Christians in Antioch, and not from
      the Jerusalem church. Haenchen (268) even allows for "the possibility that
      the 'above five hundred brethren' of 1 Cor. 15.6 included many so-called
      Hellenist - perhaps Stephen himself among them." Furthermore, Hengel
      himself posits (38) that Paul's paradosis inheritance of the creed "goes
      back to the early period of Paul's activity in Antioch and Syria, and indeed
      even back as far as Damascus," though Hengel avers, as would be expected,
      that "its content in nearly all its statements refers back to Jerusalem."
      I would, further add, that Mark, whom I situate with his community at
      Caesarea Philippi, received his own Last Supper tradition, not from Paul,
      but as a result of the circulation of the Antiochene eucharistic tradition
      in Syria.

      C. James vis-à-vis the Antiochene Soteriological Interpretation of Jesus'
      Death

      Finally, it may be asked how can I be so confident that the
      Hellenistic-Jewish Christian soteriological tradition does not, as Hengel
      puts it, "in all its statements [refer] back to Jerusalem, and, further,
      that the "Hebrews" of the Jerusalem church, with its leadership under James,
      would not have accepted the Hellenistic-Jewish Christian soteriological
      tradition regarding the salvific, atoning efficacy of Jesus' death? My
      answer is that it would not have been in the character of James to either
      have countenanced the development of such a soteriological tradition in the
      Jerusalem church or to have even tolerated its appropriation from Christians
      elsewhere, much less its rehearsal in the Jerusalem church. Let me explain.

      John Dominic Crossan characterizes (_The Birth of Christianity_, 465-468)
      James as a strong advocate for and faithful observant of "the full Jewish
      law," who likely was an ascetic and ultra-kosher in his observance, who may
      have even lived a nazirite life-style, and who was apparently held,
      according to Josephus (_Jewish Antiquities_, 20. 197-203), in favorable
      regard by Jerusalemites in 62 CE who, per Josephus, "were considered the
      most fair-minded and who were strict in observance of the law" (presumably
      Pharisees: so Crossan, 464), and who were so offended at the high priest
      Ananus' delivering up James to be stoned' that they went to the Roman
      procurator Albinus and protested Ananus' unjust and unauthorized executing
      of James. Given this profile of James, I cannot imagine that he could have
      countenanced a Hellenistic-Jewish-Christian formulation of the faith after
      the Greek paradigm of the heroic, sacrificial atoning death of a martyr.
      If James was such a strong advocate of Torah observance, how could he give
      his blessing to an interpretation of Jesus' death as a sacrificial act on
      behalf of the atonement of the sins of others, when the Torah clearly
      renounced such an atoning sacrifice (Ex. 32:30-33; Deut. 24:16)? If James
      was such a strong advocate of observant of the Torah, how could he ever
      countenance eucharistically drinking, even symbolically, the blood of Jesus,
      when the Torah proscribed against it (Lev. 17:10-14)? If James was such an
      advocate of Torah obedience, how could he have countenanced the replacement
      of the Torah covenant with a eucharistic new covenant (1 Cor. 11:25),
      Jeremiah's new covenant notwithstanding? And if James was a nazirite, and
      as such did not drink wine, how would he have participated in a eucharistic
      rite which required the drinking of wine?

      Moreover, Hegeseppius (see his _Memoirs_ as presented by Eusebius [_History
      of the Church_, 2. 23]) tells us that James alone was permitted to enter the
      sanctuary of the Temple - an entitlement which, of course, may well be
      unhistorical and nothing more than a legendary accretion in the idealization
      of James. But it does seem likely, if James was highly regarded by
      observant Jerusalemite Jews, particularly Pharisees, that he must have been
      known to frequent the Temple as any observant Jew in Jerusalem would do.
      And, of course, Luke depicts the post-Easter Jerusalemite Christians
      attending the Temple daily (Acts 2:46), "demonstrating [thereby] that they
      have not forsaken the religion of their fathers" (see Ernst Haenchen, _The
      Acts of the Apostles_, 192). Then, if that was historically the case, how
      could James have countenanced a Christian tradition which declared that
      Jesus' sacrificial and atoning death had replaced the Temple sacrificial
      cult, making it obsolete and no longer salvifically efficacious (so Hengel,
      44). In fact, Hengel argues (47) that the catalytic moment that led to the
      development of the interpretation of Jesus' death as an atoning sacrifice
      occurred at the point "where there had been a fundamental break with the
      atoning and saving significance of sacrifice in the worship of the Temple in
      Jerusalem and where the theological significance of this break - which did
      not come about without harsh resistance - had to be worked out." I find it
      quite unlikely that James would have been a part of such a break with Temple
      cult sacrificial ideology. And, finally, since there seems to be no evident
      Semitic roots to the Hellenistic-Jewish-Christian kerygmatic interpretation
      of Jesus' death, I can hardly imagine that James, the strong authoritative
      figure that he was in the early Christian movement, ceding to the
      Hellenistic-Jewish Christians, who never knew Jesus, the formulation of the
      theological centerpiece of the Christian faith. For all these reasons, I
      find it quite implausible that James would have been at all comfortable
      with, much less agreeing with the Hellenistic-Jewish soteriological
      interpretation of Jesus' death, and, even much less then that, overseeing
      its formulation in his capacity as the authoritative leader of the church at
      Jerusalem.

      Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
      September 1, 2005
    • Rikk Watts
      Hi Ted, Thanks for taking the time to respond in your characteristic style ‹ are you sure you re not a distant relative of the author of Hebs‹ see 13:22,
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 1, 2005
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        Hi Ted,

        Thanks for taking the time to respond in your characteristic style ‹ are you
        sure you're not a distant relative of the author of Hebs‹ see 13:22, :)? As
        usual, at least for me, your lengthy reply raises a whole host of other
        issues about which I have even more questions, and I can see this spiraling
        off in any number of directions. But, I am off to New Zealand tomorrow
        morning early and am busy preparing. I'll be gone for about ten days or so,
        a reply will have to wait to then I'm afraid.

        Take care

        Rikk



        On 1/9/05 3:14 AM, "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...> wrote:

        > Rikk Watts wrote on August 08, 2005:
        >
        >> Out of interest, if one proposes that conditions which favored an
        > atonement Christology "in the tradition of the Judaic tradition of a
        > righteous one suffering martyrdom for the expiation of others' sins
        > (see, as Betz notes [42, n.54], 4 Macc. 6:27-29 and 17:21-22)"
        > prevailed in the early Jerusalem church (presumably quite early if as
        > you seem to imply it predated Paul), then on what grounds would
        > one exclude this idea going back only a few years earlier to Jesus
        > himself? What necessary/sufficient theological resources did they have
        > that Jesus himself didn't? <
        >
        > [TJW]
        >
        > My apology again for the delay in my reply to the issues you raise in this
        > post, due to personal and family issues requiring my attention, as well as
        > to time required to do extensive reading to compose this reply to you, as
        > you will see below.
        >
        > I have been doing some rethinking about the origin of the earliest Christian
        > interpretation of Jesus' death as an expiation for others' sins. I am
        > convinced that that interpretation antedates Paul and did not originate with
        > Paul, contra Ron Price (at least as far as the Last Supper is concerned) in
        > his post of August 6, 2005 (Re: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death Tradition
        > Misrepresents Jesus). Ron, however, makes a good point in arguing that
        > the Jerusalem church would not likely have invented a meal in which Jesus
        > invited his disciples to drink his "blood," even symbolically, because of
        > the Torah proscription of such an act in Lev. 17:10-14. Your post here and
        > Ron's challenge to my Jerusalem origin of Jesus' death as a sacrificial
        > atonement (both in the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the Pauline tradition of the
        > Last Supper have cause me to go read again Marin Hengel's _Atonement_, which
        > I have not dipped into in over 20 years. What I found there was fascinating
        > and has caused me to wonder if the origin of the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the
        > tradition of the Last Supper should not be traced to the Hellenistic Jewish
        > Christian community in Antioch. Thus, I have developed a lengthy essay
        > which I have included at the end of this post to propose that thesis to you
        > and other listers.
        >
        > [TJW]
        >
        >> I do not know of any
        >> Christian community in Galilee which would have promulgated such a
        >> christology which is prototypically Judean cult in its sacrifical
        >> ideology.
        >
        > [Rikk]
        >
        > I'm intrigued by this. Doubtless there were early Christian communities in
        > Galilee. What I'm less sure of is how we can know much about them. What
        > makes you think a Galilean community could not have come to this idea or
        > would have been resistant to it? (Once again), what theological resources
        > did they lack that the early Jerusalem church did not? Are you implying some
        > kind of Galilean hostility toward 4 Macc martyrology or Isaiah 53? I mention
        > these texts because it seems that they and not particularly Levitical cult
        > materials are the ones you see as formative for atonement Christology. In
        > other words, I'm unclear as to why "Judean cult ideology" is relevant given
        > what seems to me to be the absence of any distinctively "Judean cultic"
        > language.
        >
        > [TJW]
        >
        > In my essay "Christian Orthodoxy's Death Tradition: a Misrepresentation of
        > the Historical Jesus," which can be found in XTalk files as "Death
        > Tradition," and with which I introduced this XTalk thread (7/18/05), I
        > indicate that the Galilean community I have reference to is the Q community.
        > I see that community promulgating the Life Tradition in contrast to the
        > Death Tradition, which I now see originates with the Antiochene Christian
        > community and not the Jerusalem church as I stated in the original essay.
        > I am not sure how the issue you raise here relates to the position I take in
        > the essay. Could you clarify that for me?
        >
        > Again, below is the lengthy essay in which I propose that the Death
        > Tradition, including the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the Last Supper tradition
        > associated with the Death Tradition, originated with Antiochene Christians
        > and not the church at Jerusalem. I look forward to any response you and
        > others may have. I will be away from today through Monday, so I will not be
        > able to reply to any responses until next week.
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Ted
        >
        > The Hellenists and the Origin of the Death Tradition
        >
        > I. Introduction
        >
        > In this essay I propose that Hellenistic-Jewish Christians, likely the
        > so-called Hellenists of Acts 6, who were natives of Antioch, originated and
        > promulgated the "Death Tradition" of Christian orthodoxy. The church at
        > Jerusalem not only did not formulate the creed of 1 Cor. 15:3-5 and
        > propagate the tradition of the Last Supper, but it, under its leader James
        > the brother of Jesus, was also opposed to the theology, christology and
        > soteriology of both the creed and the eucharistic orientation of the Last
        > Supper tradition.
        >
        > II. The Greek Martyred-Hero Paradigm vis-à-vis Palestinian Judaism's
        > Theological Orientation
        >
        > In his book _The Atonement_ (8), Martin Hengel points out that in the Old
        > Testament "there is no real report of a prophetic martyrdom, far less any
        > hints of a 'theology of martyrdom.'" Only with the Hellenistic period is
        > there an emergence in Palestinian Judaism of an emphasis on commemorating
        > prophets who are martyred. "A representative death to atone for the guilt
        > of others," Hengel submits, "can therefore be found at best on the periphery
        > of the Old Testament - for example in Isa. 53, which K. Koch rightly
        > describes as an 'erratic block.'" Only after the Maccabean rebellion do we
        > have examples of a heroes dying on behalf of the people or the Torah. In
        > the Old Testament, with the exception of Isa. 53, the thought that one could
        > atone for the sins of others is rejected by God. According to the Torah
        > (Ex. 32:30-33), when Moses, as Hengel notes, proposed to God that he be
        > permitted to atone for the sins of the people, God turns down Moses' offer
        > and insists that those who have sinned must be punished for their sins (8;
        > and cf. n. 18).
        >
        > However, Hengel (9) observes by contrast that already in the Greek classical
        > period there was a tradition of revered martyrs voluntarily sacrificing
        > themselves in the interest of family, friends, their native city, and even
        > for philosophical truth. And in the case of such voluntary martyrdom for
        > others it was understood - again as early as the classical period - that the
        > martyrdom was rooted in religious ideology, and, consequently, martyrs were
        > worshipped as divine men. Moreover, as Hengel underscores, the formulae
        > "APOQNHSKEIN hUPER ["to die for"] and more rarely also (EPI)DIDONAI hEAUTON
        > hUPER ["to give one's self for"], or similar formulae with PERI or hUPER, so
        > familiar from the New Testament christological formulae, were a stereotyped
        > expression for the voluntary sacrifice of a man's life in the interests" of
        > others or one's native city.
        >
        > Moreover, Hengel declares (19), in the Greek mindset, when someone
        > sacrificed himself for the community good, it "was also often understood as
        > an expiatory sacrifice to assuage the anger of the gods," and such an
        > expiatory human sacrifice was viewed as atonement of extraordinary nature.
        > Moreover, "[o]ne fixed ingredient of almost all traditions is that the
        > voluntary sacrifice did not rest on a man's own decision, but followed the
        > divine demand of an atoning sacrifice to deliver the people, the land or a
        > family, which was given by a seer or an oracle often that of Delphi" (23).
        > Greek tragedy is replete with the theme of revered personages of mythic
        > antiquity performing such expiatory atonement, a fact known well among all
        > sectors of the population (19). By contrast, "in ancient Israel there are
        > hardly any examples of dying for Israel, the Law or the sanctuary, which are
        > stressed as heroic actions" (6). In the Old Testament "there is no real
        > report of a prophetic martyrdom, far less any hints of a 'theology of
        > martyrdom'" (8). And with respect to the salvific efficacy of an atoning
        > death, with the exception of Isa. 53, "the Old Testament tends to reject
        > vicarious atonement of death of a man for the sins of others" (57).
        >
        > A significant aspect integral to the Greek paradigm of the hero who submits
        > voluntarily to death for others is his apotheosis, his transportation upon
        > his death to heaven or some idyllic place where he is honored by the gods
        > (4). This is significant, Hengel underscores, because there is no such Old
        > Testament tradition. Enoch and Elijah are the only two Old Testament
        > figures who are translated to heaven, but they are translated to heaven as
        > living human beings, not as dead persons. There is no Judaic tradition of
        > someone who has died being transported to heaven, "much less of a numinous
        > transfiguration of death or even of a divine glorification of the dead."
        > Also in Judaism there is no evidence of an interest in idealizing heroes via
        > a cult of the dead. "[B]elief in Yahweh did not allow any kind of worship of
        > the dead or any cultic or magical dealings with them." Only with the
        > Hellenistic period, to reiterate, does there emerge a Jewish theology of
        > martyrdom and an emphasis upon commemorating prophets and others (e.g.,
        > Eleazar, the seven brothers of IV Maccabees) who are martyred for their
        > faithfulness to Yahweh, Torah, etc (6).
        >
        > Yet, as Hengel observes (40f.), even in Hellenistic Judaism, to say nothing
        > of Palestinian Judaism, the tradition of a theology of martyrdom, never
        > included messianic martyrdom, the suffering and dying of the Messiah. It
        > is only with the rabbinic Haggadah of the second century CE, and its
        > depiction of a suffering Messiah originating in the tribe of Ephraim, that
        > one finds presentation of a suffering Messiah. For a Jewish audience of
        > the first century, a concept of a dying Messiah would "have been an
        > unprecedented novelty, indeed a scandal which - at least in the light of our
        > present knowledge of extant sources - contradicted the prevailing popular
        > messianic expectation." And there certainly was no Judaic belief in the
        > appointing of the Messiah via his resurrection from the dead.
        >
        > Thus, I can only conclude that the entire ideological foundation of the
        > Christian proclamation of Jesus as the Christ suffering and dying as a
        > voluntary martyr to atone for the sins others and, subsequently, being
        > raised and glorified by God (see, e.g. example Paul and the Markan passion
        > predictions and Mark 13:24-26) is based upon the Greek ideological paradigm
        > and had virtually no roots, aside from possibly Isa. 53, in Old Testament
        > theology. In fact, as Hengel notes, the "formula of 'dying for'
        > (APOQNHSKEIN hUPER [as represented in 1 Cor. 15:3: CRISTOS APEQANEN hUPER
        > TWN hAMARTIWN hHMWN]) is striking because it has no parallel in the Old
        > Testament and the Semitic sphere, though it is frequent in Greek texts, not
        > the least those of Hellenistic Jewish provenance from the time of the
        > Maccabees." The one Christian formula associated with Jesus' atoning
        > mission, is the "surrender formula" (as Hengel dubs it), which is found in
        > "its earliest formulation . . . in Mark 10:45 [the ransom concept of
        > atonement]" (35, 49).
        >
        > III. The Hellenists: Originators of the Soteriology of the Death Tradition
        >
        > Then who among the earliest believers in Jesus as the Messiah produced the
        > formula of 1 Cor. 15:3, as well as the entire tradition of Jesus as the
        > Christ who suffered and died for the sins of others and was, subsequently,
        > raised from the dead by God and exalted in glory? Hengel traces this
        > early Christian kerygma back to the Jerusalem church, but not to James and
        > the disciples. Rather, Hengel contends that the kerygma originates with the
        > Hellenists whom Luke portrays as part of the Jerusalem church prior to their
        > persecution. It is these Hellenists who, according to Hengel, "for the
        > first time recast the primitive Christian message (and the tradition of
        > Jesus) in the Greek language." In doing so, Hengel submits (50), these
        > Hellenists contributed to Christian rhetoric the novel and explicitly
        > Christian connotation of such terms as "EUAGGELION, EUAGGELIZESQAI;
        > APOSTOLOS, EKKLHSIA, KOINWNIA, PAROUSIA, CARIS, PISTIS, APOKALUYIS,
        > APOLUTRWIS, PRO (APO) KATABOLHNS KOSMOU, . . . and even the phrase hO hUIOS
        > TOU ANQRWPOU (instead of the hUIOS ANQRWPOU of the LXX), so mysterious
        > because it has the definite article." Hengel also proposes: "What is more
        > likely than to suppose that the formula CRISTOS APEQANEN hUPER (TWN
        > hAMARTIWN) hHMWN, which is pre-Pauline in the full sense of the word, was
        > formed in connection with this creative translation of the new kerygma into
        > Greek? "Possibly," Hengel surmises, "it was meant to counter statements in
        > the LXX which reject a 'dying for others' (cf. Deut. 24:16; Jer. 38 (31),
        > 30; Ezek. 3:18f.; 18:4ff.): the death of the Messiah creates the possibility
        > of representativeness."
        >
        > "A further argument for a Hellenistic-Jewish-Christianity derivation of the
        > conception of the representative atoning death of Jesus," Hengel suggests
        > (60), "is seen in the fact that we seem to find pre-Christian references to
        > the vicarious atoning effect of death of a martyr only in Jewish Hellenistic
        > texts [emphasis: Hengel]. These are only hinted at in II Macc. 7.32f.,
        > 37f.; the idea of representation is expressed more clearly in IV Maccabees,
        > with its stronger Greek tone, decked out in the style of a Hellenistic
        > panegyric, which probably comes from the Jewish community of Antioch of the
        > first (or second century) [CE]. That is the case in the prayer of Eleazar
        > in 6.28f. and the closing considerations in 17,21f." (60).
        >
        > Yet despite, his conclusion that the early Christian kerygma regarding the
        > vicarious atoning death of Jesus, as it comes to us in the New Testament,
        > originates with Hellenistic-Jewish-Christianity, Hengel staunchly avers (64)
        > that "we must agree with Jeremias and Lohse that the vicarious atoning
        > effect of the death or even the suffering of a righteous man was not unknown
        > in the Palestinian Judaism of the first century [CE], independently of the
        > question of terminology. Objections against deriving the soteriological
        > interpretation of the death of Jesus from the earliest Aramaic-speaking
        > community are therefore at any rate unconvincing. There is nothing from a
        > historical or tradition-historical point of view which stands in the way of
        > our deriving it from the earliest community and perhaps even from Jesus
        > himself." In fact, Hengel contends (65, 72f.) - with the proviso (72): "Of
        > course we can only put all this forward as a hypothesis, justified though it
        > may be" - that Jesus knew himself to be the Messiah, made messianic claims
        > to his disciples, ritualized the meaning of his atoning death via Isa. 53 in
        > his last supper to show, a la Mk. 14:25, that he wanted to prepare the way
        > for the coming of the kingdom of God through his sacrificial death in the
        > face of the apparent supremacy of evil and sin in God's own people and all
        > mankind." Thus, Hengel surmises (73) that Jesus at his last supper with his
        > disciples coupled the saying about ransom (Mk. 10:45) with the saying about
        > the cup. The ransom saying would have been used at that meal in order "to
        > elucidate his mysterious symbolic action. For, "[t]he saying over the cup
        > and the saying about ransom are connected by the universal service 'for
        > many',
        > in the sense of 'for all', which is presumably to be derived from Isaiah
        > 53."
        >
        > IV. Issues of Disagreement with Haenchen: Jesus Self-View, Hellenists'
        > Conflict with the Hebrews
        >
        > While I agree with Haenchen that the creation of the creed of 1 Cor. 15:3
        > and the tradition of the Last Supper originates with Hellenistic-Jewish
        > Christians, and that those Christians are likely to have been the so-called
        > Hellenists to which Luke refers in Acts 6, I part with Hengel on two counts:
        > namely, (1) his tracing the theological root of the Hellenistic-Jewish
        > Christian kerygma back to Jesus himself, whom Hengel argues (64, 71, 73)
        > interpreted his death soteriologically as an atoning death for others, and
        > (2) his conviction that the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the Last Supper tradition
        > have their roots in the Jerusalem church via the Hellenists, cited by Luke
        > in Acts 6, and that the entire church, including Jesus' original disciples
        > and his brother James, were of one mind with these Hellenistic-Jewish
        > Christians with regard to their soteriological interpretation of Jesus'
        > death (38, 44, 47, 49-54, 65).
        >
        > A. Contra Hengel: Jesus Views His Death (?) and the Markan Passion Narrative
        >
        > With respect to the first count, I hold that Jesus never held such a supper,
        > much less ritualized the meaning of his death via symbols of cup and bread.
        > In my reconstruction of Jesus' last days, I conclude that as soon as Jesus
        > engaged in the provocative act against the Temple, he was immediately
        > arrested by the Temple guard, delivered to Caiaphas, who turned him over to
        > Pilate to be executed as a thief. Thieves in that day were customarily
        > crucified (see my XTalk post to Jeffrey Gibson on August 3, 2005 [Re:
        > [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death Tradition Misrepresents Jesus]). Jesus, I
        > contend, was not crucified for making messianic claims for himself (Rikk,
        > see my forthcoming post in reply to your response of August 9 to my essay).
        > Hengel to the contrary (65), Jesus never made such a claim. I do agree
        > with Hengel that Jesus may well have considered the possibility of dying a
        > violent death, particularly from my perspective, when he engaged in his
        > provocative act against the Temple. Jesus, as Hengel posits (71f.), "was
        > one of those gifted men who are in a position to see through situations and
        > people." But if Jesus entertained the possibility that he might die for
        > his opposition of the Temple cult, my sense is that he would have thought
        > that his death might come by stoning, such as was the case of prophets
        > before him who attacked the cultic establishment. Unlike Hengel (71), I do
        > not think that Jesus prayed the Gethsemane prayer, nor do I think, contra
        > Hengel (67, 69), that either the Gethsemane episode or any other of the
        > passion events narrated my Mark from the last supper to the trial before
        > Pilate are rooted in any historical actuality - with the exception of Jesus'
        > arrest (see my "Two Jesuses" thesis, the Markan portion of which can be
        > found as an XTalk file, namely: "Two Jesuses. Markan Jesus Mimesis of
        > Jesus-Ananias.I.pdf." and "Two Jesuses. Markan Jesus Mimesis of
        > Jesus-Ananias.II.pdf."). Jesus' arrest occurred, in my reconstruction,
        > immediately following the Temple incident and not in the Garden of
        > Gethsemane.
        >
        > B. Contra Hengel: the Hellenists-Hebrews Schism
        >
        > With regard to the second count which leads me to part from Haenchn, let me
        > state at the outset that I think that the entire ideological foundation of
        > the Christian proclamation of Jesus as the Christ suffering and dying as a
        > voluntary martyr to atone for the sins others and, subsequently, raised and
        > glorified by God is based upon the Greek ideological martyrdom-paradigm.
        > Furthermore, with Hengel, I attribute that Christian kerygmatic
        > promulgation, the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the Last Supper tradition, in
        > particular, to Hellenistic-Jewish Christians, specifically the Hellenists
        > identified by Luke in Jerusalem. But where I part with Hengel is that I do
        > not think the Hellenists of Jerusalem were members of the Jerusalem church,
        > nor that Christians in Jerusalem were of one mind in there interpretation of
        > Jesus' death. In fact, I hold that the leaders of the Jerusalem church,
        > James, in particular, strongly disagreed with the Hellenists' soteriological
        > interpretation of Jesus' death. On what evidentiary basis do I hold such a
        > position in contrast to Hengel?
        >
        > As stated, Hengel holds that the theological interpretation of Jesus death
        > as a saving, atoning sacrifice formulated and promulgated by the Hellenists
        > was a consensus theological interpretation shared by the entire Jerusalem
        > Christian community. In support of this theological unanimity among all
        > Christians in the Jerusalem church, Hengel declares (54), "one can hardly
        > imagine how the unity of the earliest church - so dear to Paul's heart -
        > could have been preserved had the community in Jerusalem not shared this
        > belief in the soteriological efficacy of the death of Jesus." From my
        > perspective, the myth that the earliest church was unified theologically,
        > particularly with respect to the interpretation of Jesus' death, is nothing
        > more than a myth, for the most part the creation of Luke in his revisionist
        > idealization of church history, and specifically with respect to the present
        > issue, Luke's description of a unified Jerusalem church of "Hebrews" and
        > "Hellenists."
        >
        > For, when one strips away the Lukan idealistic veneer of early Christian
        > unity in Jerusalem, one finds beneath the scars of internecine theological
        > conflict between the Lukan "Hellenists" (Hellenistic Greek-speaking Jewish
        > Christians of the diaspora residing in Jerusalem) and the "Hebrews"
        > (Palestinian born, Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians ) in Jerusalem (see
        > Ernst Haenchen, _The Acts of the Apostles_, 267). Long ago, F. C. Baur and
        > Julius Wellhausen (see Haenchen, 264 ) had detected such a schism, but for
        > the most part it has not been fully recognized, in my judgment, for what it
        > was by scholars. Hengel to the contrary, the "Hellenists" and "Hebrews"
        > were not a part of one body of Christian believers in Jerusalem, despite
        > Luke's attempt to picture them as such. The actual historical reality of
        > the division Luke must finally allow to surface at Acts 8:1, namely, "at the
        > moment of persecution [of the Hellenists, which reveals that] the primitive
        > community embodied two groups which were already so clearly distinct that
        > the one was persecuted, the other left unharmed" (Haenchen, 266).
        > Furthermore, Hans Conzelmann (_Acts of the Apostles_, 44) suggests that the
        > division between the Hellenists and the Hebrews "must have been recognizable
        > even to outsiders; otherwise the persecution [of Jerusalem Christians] could
        > not have been limited to the Hellenists."
        >
        > This conflict between the Hellenists and the Hebrews is not a Lukan
        > creation. Rather, it is conflict which Luke found depicted in one of his
        > sources (Haenchen, 83f.), and transvalued it into a rather pragmatic,
        > mundane, though no less important, issue concerning the neglect of the
        > Hellenists' widows in order to avoid revealing what his source clearly
        > revealed, a serious schism in the Christian community in Jerusalem. As
        > Conzelmann puts it (44): "The actual events which lie behind this account of
        > the selection of the seven [Hellenists] can be perceived only vaguely,
        > because Luke has radically reworked the material in order to avoid the
        > impression of an internal crisis during the time of the apostles. The
        > neglect of precisely this group, namely the Hellenists widows, is
        > incomprehensible on the basis of what Luke reports. The conflict gives the
        > impression of being artificially constructed."
        >
        > However, the cause for the persecution of the Hellenists at the time, I
        > submit, can give us clues regarding their theological orientation and likely
        > a window into seeing what was the substantive issue that led to the schism
        > between themselves and the Hebrews. "This persecution," Haenchen declares
        > (267f.), "can have had but one possible cause: that the teaching which this
        > group attempted to disseminate by its mission contained some element which
        > to many Jews went beyond the bounds tolerable." Apparently, Haenchen
        > surmises, the Hellenists "provoked the wrath of the Jews in Jerusalem
        > [because of their exercising] great freedom in relation to the law," so much
        > so that they "must have estranged and repelled not only the Jews but also
        > the 'Hebrews': at all events their immunity from the persecution shows that
        > they did not adopt it." I would put it more strongly. The Christian
        > "Hebrews" like the offended Jews found the views of the Christian Hellenists
        > so objectionable that they rejected them outright and disassociated
        > themselves from them.
        >
        > I propose, further, that it was not just the law itself but their kerygma,
        > if it was as fully developed at that point, which challenged the Torah by
        > interpreting Jesus' death as directed by God to atone for the sins of others
        > and thereby provide salvation to all who believed in Jesus as the Christ.
        > Haenchen, for his part, does not think the issue which divided the Hebrews
        > from the Hellenists was over Jesus' messiahship (267): "Now the
        > stumbling-block could not have been the preaching of Jesus as Messiah, for
        > James the brother of Jesus was able to maintain this doctrine in Jerusalem
        > right up to the year 60." I would argue that the stumbling block was
        > precisely over the claim of the Hellenists that Jesus was a crucified
        > Messiah, a claim which, as Hengel submits, would be a scandalous offense to
        > Jews (40; and see Paul [I Cor. 1:23]) and, as Paul suggests, difficult for
        > some Christians to come to terms with (1 Cor. 1:17-2:5).
        >
        > Now, if one considers the proposed source from which Luke drew the
        > information about the Hellenists, a more complete picture can be drawn of
        > their theological orientation. A number of scholars (e.g., Rudolf
        > Bultmann, "Zur Frage nach Quellen der Apostelgeschichte," in _Exegetica_,
        > 422; Haenchen [with reservations], 84, and Conzelmann, xxxviif.) have argued
        > that Luke drew upon an Antiochene source, perhaps a chronicle, for his
        > information about the role of the "Hellenists" in early Christianity. With
        > this probable fact in mind, I would go on to argue that the Hellenists were
        > not onlyoriginally from Antioch but it also was in Antioch in the
        > Hellenistic-Jewish-Christian community there that they imagined and
        > formulated their particular soteriological interpretation of Jesus' death.
        > The paradigm they drew upon by which to model their interpretation of Jesus
        > death, I propose, was the Greek martyred-hero paradigm, a paradigm, as I
        > noted above, in which the hero is directed by the gods to sacrifice himself
        > voluntarily in death for others, as an expiatory, atoning sacrifice, with
        > the subsequent given that in death he will be transported to heaven where he
        > will be honored by the gods. It is, I suggest further, precisely this
        > paradigmatic typology upon which the passion predictions in Mark are
        > constructed, particularly 8:31, namely, Jesus, the hero of the Gospel, is
        > divinely directed (DEI) to suffer as God's son for a just and God-given
        > cause against the ungodly, oppressive cultic establishment authorities, be
        > put to death by them, and then be raised from the dead by God. The rest of
        > the Greek paradigmatic typology is fleshed out by Mark in the Markan Last
        > Supper (14:22-24), where it is clearly stated by Jesus himself that his
        > death is an salvific, atoning death, and in Mk. 13:24-26, where Jesus is
        > exalted and glorified in heaven, much like the Greek martyred heroes were
        > glorified.
        >
        > Thus, I would propose that the creed of 1 Cor. 15 and the tradition of the
        > Last Supper was the creation of the Hellenistic-Jewish-Christian community
        > in Antioch, the same city in which Hellenistic Jews, adopting the Greek
        > paradigm, developed their own theology of martyrdom, and depicted it in
        > strong "Greek tone" and "decked out in the style of a Hellenistic panegyric"
        > in their book IV Maccabees (Hengel, 60). And, course, Antioch is
        > considered by a number of scholars as the place where around "the middle of
        > the thirties, the messianic title *Christos* gradually became a proper name"
        > (Hengel, 39). Thus, I posit that the Greacized creedal formula of 1 Cor.
        > 15:3, CRISTOS APEQANEN hUPER TWN hAMARTIWN hHMWN, originated in Antioch in
        > the community of Hellenistic-Jewish Christians. Moreover, I posit, further,
        > that Paul received that creedal tradition, which he cites in 1 Cor. 15:3-5,
        > along with the appended occurrences of resurrection epiphanies (1 Cor.
        > 15:6-7), as well as the Last Supper tradition, which Paul cites in 1 Cor.
        > 11:23-25, from those Hellenistic-Jewish Christians in Antioch, and not from
        > the Jerusalem church. Haenchen (268) even allows for "the possibility that
        > the 'above five hundred brethren' of 1 Cor. 15.6 included many so-called
        > Hellenist - perhaps Stephen himself among them." Furthermore, Hengel
        > himself posits (38) that Paul's paradosis inheritance of the creed "goes
        > back to the early period of Paul's activity in Antioch and Syria, and indeed
        > even back as far as Damascus," though Hengel avers, as would be expected,
        > that "its content in nearly all its statements refers back to Jerusalem."
        > I would, further add, that Mark, whom I situate with his community at
        > Caesarea Philippi, received his own Last Supper tradition, not from Paul,
        > but as a result of the circulation of the Antiochene eucharistic tradition
        > in Syria.
        >
        > C. James vis-à-vis the Antiochene Soteriological Interpretation of Jesus'
        > Death
        >
        > Finally, it may be asked how can I be so confident that the
        > Hellenistic-Jewish Christian soteriological tradition does not, as Hengel
        > puts it, "in all its statements [refer] back to Jerusalem, and, further,
        > that the "Hebrews" of the Jerusalem church, with its leadership under James,
        > would not have accepted the Hellenistic-Jewish Christian soteriological
        > tradition regarding the salvific, atoning efficacy of Jesus' death? My
        > answer is that it would not have been in the character of James to either
        > have countenanced the development of such a soteriological tradition in the
        > Jerusalem church or to have even tolerated its appropriation from Christians
        > elsewhere, much less its rehearsal in the Jerusalem church. Let me explain.
        >
        > John Dominic Crossan characterizes (_The Birth of Christianity_, 465-468)
        > James as a strong advocate for and faithful observant of "the full Jewish
        > law," who likely was an ascetic and ultra-kosher in his observance, who may
        > have even lived a nazirite life-style, and who was apparently held,
        > according to Josephus (_Jewish Antiquities_, 20. 197-203), in favorable
        > regard by Jerusalemites in 62 CE who, per Josephus, "were considered the
        > most fair-minded and who were strict in observance of the law" (presumably
        > Pharisees: so Crossan, 464), and who were so offended at the high priest
        > Ananus' delivering up James to be stoned' that they went to the Roman
        > procurator Albinus and protested Ananus' unjust and unauthorized executing
        > of James. Given this profile of James, I cannot imagine that he could have
        > countenanced a Hellenistic-Jewish-Christian formulation of the faith after
        > the Greek paradigm of the heroic, sacrificial atoning death of a martyr.
        > If James was such a strong advocate of Torah observance, how could he give
        > his blessing to an interpretation of Jesus' death as a sacrificial act on
        > behalf of the atonement of the sins of others, when the Torah clearly
        > renounced such an atoning sacrifice (Ex. 32:30-33; Deut. 24:16)? If James
        > was such a strong advocate of observant of the Torah, how could he ever
        > countenance eucharistically drinking, even symbolically, the blood of Jesus,
        > when the Torah proscribed against it (Lev. 17:10-14)? If James was such an
        > advocate of Torah obedience, how could he have countenanced the replacement
        > of the Torah covenant with a eucharistic new covenant (1 Cor. 11:25),
        > Jeremiah's new covenant notwithstanding? And if James was a nazirite, and
        > as such did not drink wine, how would he have participated in a eucharistic
        > rite which required the drinking of wine?
        >
        > Moreover, Hegeseppius (see his _Memoirs_ as presented by Eusebius [_History
        > of the Church_, 2. 23]) tells us that James alone was permitted to enter the
        > sanctuary of the Temple - an entitlement which, of course, may well be
        > unhistorical and nothing more than a legendary accretion in the idealization
        > of James. But it does seem likely, if James was highly regarded by
        > observant Jerusalemite Jews, particularly Pharisees, that he must have been
        > known to frequent the Temple as any observant Jew in Jerusalem would do.
        > And, of course, Luke depicts the post-Easter Jerusalemite Christians
        > attending the Temple daily (Acts 2:46), "demonstrating [thereby] that they
        > have not forsaken the religion of their fathers" (see Ernst Haenchen, _The
        > Acts of the Apostles_, 192). Then, if that was historically the case, how
        > could James have countenanced a Christian tradition which declared that
        > Jesus' sacrificial and atoning death had replaced the Temple sacrificial
        > cult, making it obsolete and no longer salvifically efficacious (so Hengel,
        > 44). In fact, Hengel argues (47) that the catalytic moment that led to the
        > development of the interpretation of Jesus' death as an atoning sacrifice
        > occurred at the point "where there had been a fundamental break with the
        > atoning and saving significance of sacrifice in the worship of the Temple in
        > Jerusalem and where the theological significance of this break - which did
        > not come about without harsh resistance - had to be worked out." I find it
        > quite unlikely that James would have been a part of such a break with Temple
        > cult sacrificial ideology. And, finally, since there seems to be no evident
        > Semitic roots to the Hellenistic-Jewish-Christian kerygmatic interpretation
        > of Jesus' death, I can hardly imagine that James, the strong authoritative
        > figure that he was in the early Christian movement, ceding to the
        > Hellenistic-Jewish Christians, who never knew Jesus, the formulation of the
        > theological centerpiece of the Christian faith. For all these reasons, I
        > find it quite implausible that James would have been at all comfortable
        > with, much less agreeing with the Hellenistic-Jewish soteriological
        > interpretation of Jesus' death, and, even much less then that, overseeing
        > its formulation in his capacity as the authoritative leader of the church at
        > Jerusalem.
        >
        > Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
        > September 1, 2005
        >
        >
        >
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